Link Is Seen to Commonly Screened Protein During Pregnancy

The data highlight a new role for pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, known as PAPP-A, in gestational diabetes, with translational potential as both a diagnostic tool and therapeutic target, according to the investigators.

New research findings show that low levels of a protein often seen in screening tests for chromosomal disorders during the first trimester of pregnancy are associated with adipose tissue remodeling, gestational diabetes, and glucose resistance in pregnant women. The study results were published in Science Translational Medicine.

The data highlight a new role for pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, known as PAPP-A, in gestational diabetes, with translational potential as both a diagnostic tool and therapeutic target, according to the investigators.

Investigators ran a series of RNA screens on adipose tissue from pregnant women after cesarean delivery so they could identify possible differences in gene expression. They also ran RNA screens on adipose tissue from nonpregnant women undergoing bariatric surgery, using the samples to elucidate differences between adipose tissue growth in response to overnutrition or pregnancy.

One finding was the elevated presence of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5 (IGFBP5) in fat from pregnant women. This traps the protein IGF-1, which is necessary for cell proliferation and tissue growth.

The investigators suggested that the high levels of IGFBP5 in adipose tissue may be connected to the protein PAPP-A. Previous research results have shown that pregnant women produce this protein, which is not normally found circulating in the blood.

Reference

Reference

Rojas-Rodriguez R, Ziegler R, DeSouza T, et al. PAPPA-mediated adipose tissue remodeling mitigates insulin resistance and protects against gestational diabetes in mice and humans. Sci Transl Med. 2020;12(571):eaay4145. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aay4145

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